Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
1. It’s just so much fun! It sure is. The thing we hear most when people complete their beginner’s course is “I wish I’d done this years ago!” Climbing doesn’t have to be hard work, although it is actually part of the fun of it if you ask me. Because it’s such a sociable sport too you’re guaranteed to hook up with like-minded people and find yourself looking forward to your trips to the wall more and more.
2. It’s really good for you. Climbing is so great for toning up and getting your body in shape! Gyms are generally dull, sweaty places where people go to work-out on their own and surrounded by strangers (possibly because no-one actually wants people they know to see them red in the face and dripping from exertion?! Fair enough.) However, it’s also great for your mental well-being. A sociable, feel-good activity that gets the blood pumping and the adrenaline racing… What more could you ask for to make you feel alive?!
3. You’ll make friends. Life long friends. When you regularly choose to place your life in the hands of another, it’s easy to see why people strike up friendships that span many years. It’s also one of the most likely sports that you’ll meet someone you’d like to be romantically involved with; perhaps for the same reason as above but possibly also because it’s been voted the “sexiest” sport with women scoring climbers higher than surfers and footballers!
4. Getting back in to climbing is hard work. So, you used to climb and then you gave it up for any number of reasons… Prepare for a battle! The major issue with getting back in to climbing is that your head knows exactly what you should do but your body can’t quite live up to your head’s expectations. You’ll get there though, just don’t expect too much from yourself too soon and make sure that you’re having fun with your climbing!
5. You can make a living out of it. I recall many years ago having a blazing row with my dad about the fact I did not want to go to University – I wanted to be a climber and work in climbing! I worked hard at my climbing, got my qualifications, applied for a job as an instructor and then a Duty Manager… and now I’m the General Manager of the wonderful world that we all call Craggy; and I wouldn’t change a thing. It is possible and don’t be afraid to make that dream a reality!
Tuesday, October 27th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
How many times have you been psyching yourself up to do that big move when you suddenly find yourself worrying about if the rope will hold/will your belayer catch you/will you hurt yourself when you land… The list goes on and on! Truth is that none of these things are likely to happen and it’s all “in your head”.
That’s all well and good, I hear you say, but what can you really do about it?:
1. Trust the people you’re climbing with. If you’ve only just started climbing or this is the first time you’ve climbed with someone new then build up gradually and take your time. Talk to your climbing partner about your worries. If they know that you’re nervous or may fall then they’ll be sure to pay extra attention! You might need to work on communication too so that you can let your belayer know when you want the rope tighter or simply for them to pay you their full attention during a move or sequence.
2. Try doing some practice falls. Now, this won’t work for everybody as you’re isolating a tiny part of your climbing experience when you do this. For some though, practicing falls on lead or top-rope is invaluable so it certainly shouldn’t be ruled out. You and your climbing partner should find a quiet area of the wall and practice taking falls. The climber will climb up to a height they feel comfortable (believe it or not, the safest place to practice falling is actually at the top of the wall!), making sure that they’re high enough that a lead fall won’t put them in danger and a top-rope fall won’t mean that they’ll touch down. Next, you simply agree with your partner that you’re going to fall off and… off you pop! Belayer happily holds the fall and climber gets the experience of knowing it’s all going to be ok.
3. Climb til you have no choice but to fall. This is my preferred method of “practice falling” as the fall is just a part of what you’re doing and not, for want of a better description, role play. You climb a route that you know you’ll find tough and agree with your partner that they won’t take the rope in if you get scared, thus forcing you to take the fall. It’s surprising how much a bit of fear can focus your climbing ability so you may have to tire yourself out by doing laps on a route to get this to work as, eventually, you simply won’t be able to hold on any longer.
4. Practice calming and relaxation techniques before and during your climb. Take a few minutes before you set off on your route to take some deep calming breaths, think through and “read” the route from the ground. This will mean you’re best prepared for the task ahead and should find yourself panicking if the going gets tough. When you get to a move that you’ve anticipated as being difficult, breathe. Oxygen is vital to the sensible functioning of your body and mind and you’ll do yourself no favours by holding your breath during a hard move!
5. Don’t let go. A very wise climber once told me… “If you don’t let go, you can’t fall off.” He was entirely right. However, there is also a need to man-up and accept that falling is an inevitability of enjoying climbing as a hobby. If you’re wanting to push your grade then you will have to take some falls as you cannot possibly succeed on everything.
Monday, October 26th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
1. Allow yourself to be a beginner. I know that sounds too simple, but seriously, everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t expect to be scampering up through the grades after just a few sessions. It takes time and practice for your body to get used to your new favourite sport.
2. Get the right kit. Having the right shoes and harness can really make a difference to your climbing when you’re getting started. Don’t just hop on to ebay and buy the cheapest – they won’t fit you right and you’ll have wasted your money. Go to your local climbing shop (we’re very luck to have Rock On here at Craggy Guildford!), try lots of different things on and take the advice that the shop assistant has to offer you.
3. Ask lots of questions. If you’re new to climbing then you’ll be wanting to make sure that you fully understand everything so you don’t take any unnecessary risks. The staff at a climbing wall are always very happy to answer any questions and give advice as necessary. You’ll find other climbers are an invaluable source of information too and are, on the whole, an incredibly friendly bunch!
4. Get some tuition on your Technique. It can be tough to get the most out of your climbing physically when you’re just getting started. A Private Lesson with an Instructor could give you all the skills you need to be trying harder climbs and succeeding on routes that just don’t seem possible at first. If you’re feeling a bit skint, spend time watching other climbers to see how they do moves that you’re stuck on. Even better, bring a friend to watch too and you can then advise each other on whether you did the moves right or not.
5. Have Fun! This is by far the most important piece of advice. Don’t take climbing too seriously or you’ll be put off if you’re not starring in Mission Impossible by week 2! Find people to climb with that make your trips to the wall enjoyable – you’ll look forward to every visit even more then and having a regular partner to climb with will motivate you to climb more often. If you’re lacking in partners, pop along to one of our Socials.
Sunday, October 25th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
We are very pleased to announce that Toby Roberts, a member of the Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team, has just climbed Raindogs, 8a at Malham Cove in Yorkshire.
Raindogs, at the immense and atmospheric Malham Cove, is one of the most well known 8as in the UK. Many climbers have enjoyed this as their first 8a and the grade has been confirmed many times over by it’s ascentionists.
Read Toby’s write up and watch the video of his ascent here: http://www.tobyroberts.co.uk/raindogs-8a-at-malham-cove-ticked-youngest-ever-ascent/
The amount of effort that Toby has put in to this project has been incredible. He redpointed the route earlier today having stayed on for an extra couple of days after a week long trip to climb in Yorkshire with his father.
Toby Roberts climbing this route means he is the youngest person to climb it and among the youngest climbers in the world to climb a route of this difficulty.
In June of this year, Toby took 2nd Place at his first International competition out in Imst, Austria at the Youth Color Felstival which is held annually and attracts competitors from all over the World.
Great competition results coupled with his abilities outside on rock really do make Toby a very exciting young climber for the future and we can’t wait to see what he gets up to next!
Well done from all of us Toby! :o)
More about Toby Roberts climbing:
Started climbing: When I was 8 years old
How I got in to climbing: I climbed with the school and then went along to some competitions and really enjoyed the challenge!
Hobbies: Football, Rugby, Triathlon & Running
Best competition result: Coming 2nd in Europe at Youth Colours Competition in Imst (when in Lower D!). Also enjoyed winning both YCS competitions at home wall at Craggy, coming 3rd at Nationals 2015, 1st in Scottish Climbing Championship in 2015 and winning Blokfest 2014\2015!
Blog address: www.tobyroberts.co.uk
Sunday, October 25th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
These super-simple and yummy Granola Flapjacks make for a perfect pre, during, post or anytime climbing snack!
1 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper
100g porridge oats
50g puffed rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
85g desiccated coconut
50g dried apricots
50g dried cranberries
50g blanched hazelnuts
50g pecan nuts
50g pumpkin seeds
130g light muscovado sugar
140g golden syrup
1. Chop the apricots into pieces. Tip the oats, puffed rice, coconut and fruit into a large bowl and mix well. Put the hazelnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan with no oil and, over a moderate heat, stir until they are lightly toasted. Leave to cool before adding to the mix.
2. Put the sugar, syrup and butter in a small pan and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon until melted, then simmer for 3 minutes until slightly thicker and syrupy.
3. Quickly stir the syrup into the dry mix, stirring until it all starts to bind and there are no dry patches.
4. Quickly tip into the prepared tin and press down with the back of a spoon to even out the surface. Leave to cool and set in the fridge – about 2 hours. It cuts well in to 9 pieces or you can get 16 smaller pieces (these are the size of the ones at Craggy) which are ideal for grabbing every time you walk past them!
Tip: This also works really well as a dairy-free version. Simply replace the butter with your preferred dairy-free spread. Be careful to keep stirring and have the heat a little lower whilst your syrup mixture is thickening though or you’ll end up with a burnt taste.
Friday, October 16th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
Our super-indulgent Brownies are probably the reason for a fair few people’s grades dropping recently… Don’t be shy though, just come climbing more often!
1 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper
200g unsalted butter
100g Plain Chocolate
100g Milk Chocolate
397g can Carnation Caramel
1 tsp Flaky Sea Salt, plus a little extra for the top
200g golden caster sugar
4 Large Eggs
130g Plain Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Melt the butter in a small pan, break in all the chocolate, then remove the pan from the heat and wait for the chocolate to melt. If you try to do it all at once you run the risk of your chocolate splitting so don’t rush this step!
2. In a small bowl, mix 175g of the Caramel with 1 tsp of Sea Salt. Put the rest of the Caramel in a large bowl with the Sugar and Eggs, and beat until even.
3. Whisk in the melted Chocolate and Butter mixture. Then, add the Flour and Cocoa. Beat briefly until smooth.
4. Pour half the brownie batter into the tin and level it with a spatula. Using a teaspoon, spoon most of the Salted Caramel on top of the batter layer in evenly spaced stripes. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top and smooth it out, trying not to disturb the caramel beneath. Top with the rest of the caramel using a teaspoon to drizzle it over.
5. Scatter with a couple more pinches of Sea Salt, then bake for 25 mins or until risen all the way to the middle with a light crust on top. When ready, the brownie will jiggle just a little when you shake the tin. Let it cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares. It cuts well in to 9 pieces or you can get 16 smaller pieces (these are the size of the ones at Craggy) which are ideal for grabbing every time you walk past them!
Tip: Try to make these the day before you’re going to eat them (I know, it’s tough!) as they get a gorgeously fudgey texture when they’ve been left overnight in the fridge. If you need to eat them straight away, I can recommend letting them cool for about 25-30 mins and then eating with a scoop of ice cream… Yum! They serve up very well as an envious pudding at a dinner party in this way! ;o)
Friday, October 16th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
As our Rocky Road has fast become an addiction for many of our members, we thought we’d let you in on our very simple recipe:
1 x 23cm tin lined with baking paper
500g Chocolate (we use milk chocolate but you can adjust to your personal taste)
121g Maltesers (they’re the ‘grab pouch’ size)
200g Glace Cherries (can be substituted with raisins)
50g White Chocolate (for decoration)
1. Break up the Chocolate and melt in a bowl over hot water. Break up the White Chocolate and melt in a separate bowl over hot water. Keep the heat low to avoid the chocolate splitting.
2. Put the Marshmallows, Maltesers and Glace Cherries in a large bowl and mix well.
3. When the chocolate has melted, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes.
4. Once the chocolate has cooled pour it into the bowl with the Marshmallows, Maltesers and Glace Cherries and mix well. A silicone spatula works best so you can scoop all the chocolate from round the edges. Then, pour the mixture into your prepared tin.
5. To decorate, use a teaspoon to drizzle the melted white chocolate over the top.
6. Place the tin in the fridge and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes or until the chocolate has completely set.
7. When you’re ready to devour it… Remove from the tin and cut using a long-bladed knife. It cuts well in to 9 pieces or you can get 16 smaller pieces (these are the size of the ones at Craggy) which are ideal for grabbing every time you walk past them!
Tip: Experiment with different ingredients. A nutty version works really well if you use slightly salted chocolate. I’ve also done a sweet-shop version with lots of yummy sweets thrown in and then pressed in to the top of the mix to decorate.
Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 - Posted by Cliff Hanger
If you climb but don’t really pay the bouldering wall any attention you may just be missing something out of your climbing sessions that can really help you to push your grade, improve your technique and get more enjoyment out of your climbing!
In the past, bouldering was often thought of as a way to keep fit when you didn’t have a climbing partner; but times have changed! It is now recognised by a growing number of participants as climbing in it’s purest form – the lack of ropes and harnesses mean that the climber has the freedom to experiment with movement which would otherwise be hindered during roped climbing. With the relative safety of a crash mat to protect you from falls, boulderers can practice both delicate controlled movements but also dynamic and contorted sequences to reach that sometimes elusive “last hold”.
So, what can you hope to achieve by spending some time bouldering?
Taking time to read and review the sequence of moves in the climb is crucial. Unlike roped climbing, the demands of bouldering make it nigh on impossible to hang around whilst trying to work out what to do next! Make a positive decision to read and review the climb before your feet leave the ground.
Most climbers will consider the sequence of moves for their hand placements but the majority forget about their feet… It does come with experience but the next time you go to try a problem look at the complete series of holds and attempt to visualise your hand and foot placements. Review your progress after your attempt. Consider whether you made the right choices, would another option be more suitable and whether your attempt show any weakness in your climbing that could be rectified.
Watch other boulderers… There really is so much you can learn just by seeing how other climbers tackle the same problems.
What can regular bouldering do for me?
Bouldering is quite an intense form of climbing but progress will be rapid if you’re willing to put the time in. The benefits of regular bouldering sessions can include many of the following:
* Noticeable improvement in your climbing technique. Footwork, balance and movement are all key in bouldering.
* You’ll see an improvement in your strength. This increase in power will really help in other forms of climbing.
* Become more dynamic in your climbing style, or add it to your repertoire of skills. Bouldering problems can have some very athletic moves in them and with practice you will become stronger and more able to pull off powerful moves.
* It gives you the opportunity to practice moves and techniques in relative safety.
* You’ll get more climbs out of your session – no tying-in, no belaying. Just climbing, climbing and more CLIMBING!
Finally, bouldering can be enjoyed both as an individual or with a partner or in a group. A huge part of bouldering with someone can be the fun of bouncing ideas off each other and having a bit of friendly competition on different problems which can really help to keep you motivated!
The transition into regular bouldering couldn’t be easier – just leave your harness and rope in the changing room!
Give us a call on 0844 880 8866 to get involved and make bouldering a part of your life!
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 - Posted by Danie
The Southern Sandstone is the closest real rock to both of the centres and the unique style of climbing required and strange features certainly make it very interesting to climb! There are several outcrops located around the Tunbridge Wells area in Kent that are well known for their easy access and friendly atmosphere. The main crags such as Harrison’s rocks and Bowles are great places to start out as they offer climbs of all grades and so are great for mixed ability groups heading outside. (They also make a lovely place for a family picnic with a sneaky bit of climbing on the side!)
Due to the soft nature of the rock, lead climbing is not allowed and so the preferred ascent style is to top rope the climbs. This makes the transition from inside to outside much easier as you do not need a great deal more equipment to get started. Obviously there is certain safety information, such as the correct rigging of ropes, that need to be learnt so we do advise that you seek instruction before or during your first visit.
There are several guidebooks available which map out the climbs and all basic information; these are all available from Rock On at Guildford and other good climbing shops.
Do not be put off if you find the rock quite difficult to climb at the start. Due to the sandy nature of the rock it can be hard to get to grips with as the holds are normally made up of large flat slopers so balance and body positioning are essential skills to master in order to succeed on these rocks. However, once you get over these first few barriers there is a whole selection of quality lines on these great outcrops that will have you returning time and time again.
As you move through the grades there are 3 star classic climbs just screaming out to be climbed! Climbs such as Niblick at Harrisons and the steep but juggy Pigs Nose at Bowles are perfect examples of Sandstone climbing that simply shouldn’t be missed.
The closest crag to both Craggy Islands is Stone Farm which offers some great low level climbs of cracks and slabs. Other crags to note in the area are High Rocks which is a great place to push yourself as it holds a lot of climbs in the upper region. Also worth a mention is the peaceful Eridge Green which is tucked away in quiet woodland which can make for a very relaxing day out.
Please be aware that a lot of the crags in this area are on private land and do come with specific access restrictions. Some crags, such as Bowles and High Rocks, require you to pay an entry fee to climb there so please respect this so as not to jeopardise future access. Others, such as Harrisons and Stone farm, are now owned by the BMC so access is free but it is always worth checking out current restrictions before your visit.
There is also plenty of bouldering on the sandstone and with development during recent years it is growing into a great venue for all aspiring boulderers. With problems ranging from the very easy all the way up to the top level, it will certainly keep you busy for some time.
There is a dedicated guidebook covering just the bouldering on the sandstone. For more information on this please visit www.ssbouldering.co.uk.
Friday, May 1st, 2015 - Posted by Danie
Indoor climbing sessions are intense workouts and put an extreme workload onto the body, so it’s not only important to stretch and warm up, but also to fuel up by eating the foods that will help sustain you through your climbing. A little understanding of the body’s nutritional requirements when deciding what to eat on Craggy days can really help improve performance.
Pippa Mitchell is a nutritional therapist and regular climber at Craggy Island Guildford and has put together a comprehensive plan of what to eat before, during and after climbing to help sustain you through your session and help repair tired muscles afterward. If you are serious about your climbing or just don’t want to ache so much after a good session at Craggy then read on…
Nutrition advice for climbing and training at the wall
Carbohydrate is needed to give you the energy for almost every type of activity. It provides energy for immediate use and also stores extra in your muscles. Low GI or slow release carbohydrates (wholemeal bread, brown rice, porridge) can help to improve endurance and prevent fatigue. Combine with protein for better recovery of muscles after climbing.
Proteins are the building blocks of life and are a part of every cell in the body. Protein is needed for the growth and repair of tissues and is also a fuel for energy production. It is important to have some protein after climbing to help repair fatigued muscles.
Vitamins and minerals
Although vitamins and minerals do not directly provide energy they are needed for growth, health and general wellbeing. They are an essential part of enzymes that are needed for energy production and climbing performance. They help our muscles work properly and are needed to help the body’s ability to grow and repair itself.
In order to get all the vitamins and minerals you need it is important to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (at least 5 portions a day – preferably more!). Make sure you have a good variety of colours including red, green, orange and purple in the vegetables and fruit you eat.
It is important to make sure that you fuel up before exercising which will ensure sustained energy during your session at the wall. It is generally considered to be more advantageous to eat low GI foods to ensure optimum performance. You will burn more fat during exercise by eating a low GI meal rather than a high sugar snack such as an energy drink, chocolate bar or other sugary or processed food before exercising. (A mistake a lot of climbers make.) A lower GI will also keep you going throughout your exercise period and during recovery.
Allowing 2-4 hours between eating and exercising gives you enough time to digest your food but not so long that your blood sugar levels become too low risking fatigue.
However, it is not always easy to factor meals in if you are working before your climb, so you can always ‘top up’ with a suitable snack 1-2 hours beforehand, again to ensure maximum performance.
* Jacket potato with beans, chicken, tuna or cheese
* Pasta with tomato sauce and salad
* Rice with chicken or fish and vegetables (if you are vegetarian include some lentils or beans)
* Lean meat casseroles
* Fish with vegetables
* Rice dish with lentils, beans or lean protein and vegetables
* Fruit such as a banana or 2-3 dried apricots, figs or dates
* Plain yoghurt with fresh fruit such as berries
* Fruit smoothie
* A bowl of porridge, muesli or low sugar cereal with milk
Whilst at the wall
If you have eaten a meal 2-4 hours before exercising and/or had a snack (as detailed above) you may not need to fuel up during exercise especially if your climb time is less than 1 hour. However, if you are expecting to climb for 2-3 hours, a carbohydrate snack can make the difference between experiencing low blood sugar resulting in fatigue, limbs feeling heavy, aching muscles and being able to sustain your energy levels.
In this case you want carbohydrate that will ‘kick in’ relatively quickly so you can use the energy to your advantage. Because it takes about 30 minutes for carbs to get into the blood stream, you must ensure that you consume it before you are fatigued. So start eating/drinking about 15-30 minutes into your session. Ideally after you’ve gone through your warm up but before you start pulling hard.
* Diluted fruit juice – half and half
* Isotonic drink or sports gels
* Energy bar
* 1 x banana
* 50g raisins or other dried fruit
* Fresh fruit with glass of milk or yoghurt
* Wholemeal sandwich with protein filling – cottage cheese, tuna, chicken, ham or egg
* A wrap with lean protein (tuna, cottage cheese, egg, chicken)
* Homemade smoothie with yoghurt and fruit
If you are eating a meal after exercising, opt for low GI foods such as complex carbohydrates (brown rice or pasta) and low fat proteins (lean fish, meat or poultry), to help with muscle recovery. (My husband swears by beer and a curry, which isn’t to far off – just don’t get to carried away with the rehydration!)
Suggestions for what to eat during the day if you are climbing in the evening
* Porridge made with semi-skimmed milk and a piece of fruit (banana, berries, grated apple)
* Boiled or poached egg with 2 slices or wholemeal bread
* Pasta dish with vegetables or protein such as tuna, chicken or meat or pulses
* Rice dish (as above)
* Chicken or hummus and salad in a wrap
* Jacket potato with salad and protein filling
Mid afternoon snack
Avoid eating sugary biscuits, buns or fizzy drinks, because although this will give you an ‘energy spike’ but by the time you come to exercise, your blood sugar levels will have dropped leaving you tired and lacking energy
* Peanut butter sandwich
* Plain yoghurt with fruit added
* Oatcakes or crispbreads with hummous dip
* Fruit smoothie
* Seeded bagel with lean meat, smoked salmon or cream cheese topping (if veggie try cottage cheese, hummous or lentil spread).
Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you. It is essential to keep hydrated before, during climbing and afterwards. Try to drink approximately 250ml for every 30 minutes of climbing and continue to drink freely afterwards. Make it your routine to drink a little every time you untie from the rope then its easy to keep your liquid up.
(a good pre and post-workout drink)
In a blender whizz together the following fruit combinations. If the consistency is too thick add a couple of tablespoons of water or juice. Alternatively buy one from the café, they’re delicious!
- 3 slices of fresh pineapple
- 1 peach or nectarine or passion fruit pulp
- pulp from ½ mango
- 50ml orange juice
- ½ punnet of ripe strawberries, raspberries or blueberries or a mix of all
- 1 banana
- juice of ½ lime
- 50ml apple or pomegranate juice
Banana and honey Surprise
- 1 banana
- 1 small pot low fat bio yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2-4 strawberries
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